Description and Analysis

Shield Five Cents
1880 5C MS

Description & Analysis

1880 witnessed the lowest mintage of currency strike for the Shield Nickel series. This production may have had nothing to do with actual circulation demand at all, as it was the Mint's policy to produce a few thousand non-proofs each year to supply the needs of collectors who didn't order proofs and to keep the denomination current. Such minimal coinage was commonplace for quarter and half dollars throughout the 1880s.

1880 nickels that are certifiably non-proofs are extremely rare in Mint State grades. In fact, it's likely that some of the worn pieces known today were also proofs that escaped into circulation. As with the 1879 and 1881 issues, the Mint State coins are typically prooflike to some degree, while the actual proofs were made with such indifference to quality that it's very difficult to distinguish between the two emissions. Certification is essential for any 1880 nickel offered as a non-proof.

The same die pair was used for both issues, and the obverse displays a repunched second 8.